Letter from the Editor – Making IT Count

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Letter from the Editor – Making IT Count

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | April 02, 2015
Health IT
Sean Ruck
From the April 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Welcome to your April issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News!
This is the annual Health IT issue and as we hinted at with the cover illustration, HIT, like other health care professionals, have serious challenges to contend with. And with the cyber-security breach at Anthem at the beginning of the year and fairly large breaches at other organizations seeming to happen every day, it’s HIT’s turn to be in the media spotlight. It should be obvious even to the non-IT crowd that there’s more to the role than keeping the PACS up, or optimizing interoperability. HIT needs to make sure PACS is not only up, but locked up and off limits from unauthorized individuals. They need to make sure patient records remain private and HIPAA compliant. They need to take steps to either ban or manage employee-owned devices in their facility’s information management structure. And they need to be more visible to those making the budgeting and staffing decisions at health care organizations.

So with cyber-security as one of the wrecking balls on the cover, we have a corresponding feature (p. 48). A number of cyber-security experts share their thoughts and opinions on the state of health IT security today and what can and should be done about securing patient records against skilled thieves. While thieves have a lot of resources at their disposal and some strong incentives to do what they do, health IT professionals have the advantage of being able to openly collaborate, share information and learn the latest through open educational forums. They also have the opportunity to read about tactics and solutions in magazines like HCBN rather than creeping around the dark web.

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Another wrecking ball on the cover is PACS. PACS continues to be one of the big stories in health care as experts try to figure out ways to take a technology that served a very specific function and expand it to encompass other areas it wasn’t initially intended to work within. That’s the focus of the PACS industry sector report (p. 64) – the integration of different non-traditional PACS information sources into a super PACS along with discussion of where PACS is and where it may go in the future.

Wrecking ball number three, EHR, gets coverage in our EHR industry sector report (p. 60). Like PACS, there’s a continuing narrative here. EHR has the challenge of meeting the requirements of Meaningful Use and so far, it’s not doing so great in that area.

And there’s another PACS connection of course – the need for the two technologies to play nice with each other. Without being able to gather, file and organize information from PACS, EHR won’t meet the needs of health care facilities. Fortunately, that has been apparent for years and some solutions are already in place to help make the proper connections.

Straying from the wrecking ball breakdown, one more major story to highlight is the IT Viewpoints piece. We have 10 experts sharing their advice, opinions and concerns and it’s worth checking out (p. 44).

Until next issue!

Sean Ruck
DOTmed HealthCare Business News

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